Friday, February 7, 2014

What's in a name?


by Lizzie Turner from the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries

by Erika Chase

A lot of the teachers in the Ashton Corners Elementary School where I work as a reading specialist are getting their students to make valentines, as that well-loved day is nearing.

 I got to thinking about the first valentine I got when I was in first grade. It wasn't handmade, like these ones are, but rather it came from a box of cards, probably about four different designs, eight of each. I can't remember what it said but I remember thinking how cute Marvin Meech was. He's the boy who slid it onto my desk as he walked by.

That was his name. Marvin. But his daddy would always call him Mary. I know because they used to live next door and I'd often hear him being called for supper. A lot of the boys in the neighborhood used to laugh when they heard that. I asked Marvin one day if that was his nickname. He looked ready to sock me one but when he saw I wasn't teasing him, he told me he didn't know where it came from. He'd always been Mary at home, to his daddy.

That got me to thinking about names and how they can affect a person for their life. Of course, the macho John Wayne was really Marion Mitchell Morrison. Then there was Carroll O'Connor, Evelyn Waugh, Dana Andrews, and Meredith name a few.

I found a long list of unisex names on the internet. Sometimes there's a one letter difference in the spelling that signifies gender. Sometimes not. It's an interesting read.

You see how my mind goes on tangents at times. But the reason I find this so interesting is because my author likes to start with a character's name when building a profile. She often asks for my advice. Mostly not.

I've wondered every now and then about Marvin Meech. They moved one summer, a couple of years later and I never heard another thing about him. I wonder if anyone ever calls him Mary these days and how he reacts.

Do you know someone with an unusual name? Has he/she embraced the name?

Cover Story, the third in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries 
is now available!

 Also available are Read and Buried and, A Killer Read,  (#2 on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Bestseller List and
an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Mystery)
Coming soon, Book Fair and Foul

Visit Erika at 
Love to hear from you on my Facebook author page and
onTwitter  @erika_chase. 


  1. My parents named their chubby little baby Willow, and then I grew tall and lanky. Living up to "Willow" could be difficult (so far, it hasn't been), but I'm glad they didn't name me Candy or Taffy.

  2. I knew a woman named Venus. Luckily, she is beautiful. She was a teenaged waitress at a diner I took my kids into years ago. Now she does long-haul trucking with her husband.

  3. Back in the sixties went all thru school with a guy named Linus..he was never teased tho..he looked like a Linus! Brainy guy...musically talented...nice...not a real "looker", but a great friend.